March 20, 2018

"'Utterly horrifying': ex-Facebook insider says covert data harvesting was routine/Sandy Parakilas says numerous companies deployed these techniques – likely affecting hundreds of millions of users – and that Facebook looked the other way."

The Guardian reports (and this is different insider from the one I quoted earlier today).
Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012... [said] “My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data” ... Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand” and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused....

“It has been painful watching,” he said. “Because I know that they could have prevented it.” Asked what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside developers, he replied: “Zero. Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not any control, and there was no insight into what was going on.”
Here's the earlier post: "'Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to access the personal data of users during the 2012 campaign because they supported the Democratic candidate...'"

And here's my post from 2 days ago, criticizing Facebook for making a narrow, legalistic argument Facebook... for itself." I said: "That's not going to work. We didn't give it to X. We gave it to Y who gave it to X. It's a laundering argument." And I recommended that Facebook fall back onto the argument that "It's good to use this data to facilitate communication, especially on topics of great public concern."

I'm still trying to get a grip on this story, but my orientation to it is that I'm skeptical that there was any "leak" or "breach" of security. It think Facebook did what it intended to do, but there's just some static over that choice because it became apparent that Mercer money had energized a right-wing use of the data.

ADDED: Bloomberg reports this morning that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook for possibly violating a consent decree:
Under the 2011 settlement, Facebook agreed to get user consent for certain changes to privacy settings as part of a settlement of federal charges that it deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. That complaint arose after the company changed some user settings without notifying its customers, according to an FTC statement at the time.
Did Facebook make changes that they didn't tell users about or did users just not "read or understand" what Facebook told them?

"I realized no one was going to care about my music and my world as much as I did, and this freedom from others' expectations opened up my perspective of what was possible..."

"... as an initially self-funding independent artist. I began building up areas of my career, block by block.... I collected myself, asked for minimalistic budgets and hustled to create something out of nothing. I spent the next three months working 50-70 hours a week as a server in Times Square. I didn’t see sunlight for over two weeks at one point. I saved all of the money needed to fund my next EP and subsequent tour. Two months later, I quit my job as a server, and I have been running a fully sustainable independent artist project for the last four years. You may or may not know who I am. You may or may not have at some point listened to my music, actively or passively. I own all of my masters and publishing and have maintained full creative control of my project and remain the sole, final decision maker. I have accumulated over 150 million streams, sell out 250- to 650-capacity venues across the United States, have toured Europe, and write and executive produce all of my releases.... I am not guaranteed or owed an income from pursuing a passion project. It is the job of myself and my manager to have a vision for VÉRITÉ and create a value with those who want to enter the world I create. This new music industry has opened a door for everyone to have the opportunity to make and share their vision with the world, and I am anxiously excited to navigate this new landscape."

Writes Vérité in "Spotify Isn't Killing The Music Industry; It's A Tool For Enterprising Indie Artists" (Forbes).

"White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however..."

"... are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households. Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.... Though black girls and women face deep inequality on many measures, black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults."

This looks like an important study, and the NYT has done an interesting job of displaying data on animated graphs, but I don't think the title is properly scientific: "Extensive Data Shows Punishing
Reach of Racism for Black Boys."

The data don't tell us the cause of the disparities, only that the disparities exist. In fact, just looking a the data, it seems easier to say that the cause is not racism, because we see black women doing not only as well as white women but a bit better? The article uses the lack of disparity among women as a basis for refuting the hypothesis that black/white disparities can be " explained by differences in cognitive ability":
If such inherent differences existed by race, “you’ve got to explain to me why these putative ability differences aren’t handicapping women,” said David Grusky, a Stanford sociologist who has reviewed the research.
It is quite possible that there's gender-specific racism that is causing this effect...
“It’s not just being black but being male that has been hyper-stereotyped in this negative way, in which we’ve made black men scary, intimidating, with a propensity toward violence,” said Noelle Hurd, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia.
And it's also possible that the male reaction to racism is generally very different from the female reaction, but I don't see how these data show that. The article is using the data as basis for speculation.

"Reporters labor under the terrible requirement that what they report must be true. Opinion writers need to endure the less stringent demand..."

"... that what they opine be at least plausible. Nobody ever expects what cartoonists do to be either true or even plausible. That’s why we’re all as happy as larks."

Said Robert Grossman, who lied implausibly about Nixon, Bush, etc. etc. and tied the airplane in a knot in the "Airplane!" movie poster, quoted in his NYT obituary. He was 76.

Asked whether there was something undignified about his caricatures, he said: "Undignified?... Virtually anything has more dignity than lying and blundering before the whole stupefied world, which seems to be the politician’s eternal role."

"The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth."

That's an example of an insult from cannibalism days on Easter Island, brought to us by NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof, who flew all the way to Easter Island to be there to recount the history of Easter Island, which anyone can read without actually going there. Big statues of heads, long-ago deforestation wrecking its capacity to support the people who were advanced enough to make those big-head statues... you know the story. It's not news. Indeed, Kristof serves up readymade quotes from Jared Diamond pop-science book "Collapse' (2005). He does offer 2 sentences of on-the-scene reportage:
Easter Islanders themselves aren’t thrilled about being reduced to a metaphor. They rightly feel great pride in their earlier history and see the collapse as more complex and uncertain.
And yet he fully intends to step on that pride and offer up Easter Island as "A Parable of Self-Destruction." Why go there if you only want the metaphor/parable version of the place anyway? I'm asking a question that encapsulates the message of "How to Talk About Places You've Never Been: On the Importance of Armchair Travel," by Pierre Bayard.

But Kristof did go there:
I came to Easter Island while leading a tour for The New York Times Company, and those of us in the group were staggered by the statues — but also by the reminder of the risks when a people damages the environment that sustains it.

That brings us to climate change, to the chemical processes we are now triggering whose outcomes we can’t fully predict. The consequences may be a transformed planet with rising waters and hotter weather, dying coral reefs and more acidic oceans. We fear for the ocean food chain and worry about feedback loops that will irreversibly accelerate this process, yet still we act like Easter Islanders hacking down their trees....
How on earth — a place we've all been — did Nicholas Kristof think he could get away with that sanctimony?! DO NOT LECTURE US! Let your example come first, and then you can talk. You flew to Easter Island — you led a tour, enticing others to fly to Easter Island — so obviously, you think nothing of your carbon footprint or the carbon footprint of all those other people who jetted out there with you. When your actions are so radically different from your words, I don't believe your words. The depredations of global warming may be coming, but I don't believe that you believe it.

Yes, I know I have alternatives. It's possible that Kristof is an idiot, incapable of noticing or understanding the radical disconnect between his words and his actions. And it's possible that Kristof is a raging elitist, who thinks that he and his close associates needn't stoop to the hard work of self-limitation that he feels fully empowered to impose on others and who thinks that all the people whose opinion matters will share this despicable elitism.

"so obviously, you think nothing of your carbon footprint....When your actions are so radically different from your words, I don't believe your words."

It's like this:

Trump, Bjorn Lomberg or other AGW semi-skeptics: "Why should we limit our use of energy? It won't make the slightest bit of difference as long as India, China and everyone else go on burning all the fossil fuels they want!

Concerned AGW believer: "This is the problem! You are the reason we're not making any progress toward averting this obvious disaster!"

AGW semi-skeptic: "Wow, look at you, lecturing us all about our carbon footprints while you jet all over the world."

Concerned AGW believer: "Look, come on. If I cut out everything I do, it wouldn't make any difference as long as you're all free to go on burning fossil fuels like it doesn't matter."

"So many writers have produced 'I went offline, and here is what I learned' stories that they became a tedious cliché years ago."

"Cliché or no, however, those stories had one thing in common: the writers of them all actually went offline. Farhad Manjoo, technology columnist for The New York Times, took a different tack. He didn’t go offline at all: he just said he did, in a widely discussed column. Manjoo wrote about what he learned from his two months away from social media, and dispensed avuncular advice to his readers about the benefits of slowing down one’s news consumption. But he didn’t really unplug from social media at all. The evidence is right there in his Twitter feed, just below where he tweeted out his column: Manjoo remained a daily, active Twitter user throughout the two months he claims to have gone cold turkey, tweeting many hundreds of times, perhaps more than 1,000. In an email interview... he stuck to his story, essentially arguing that the gist of what he wrote remains true, despite the tweets throughout his self-imposed hiatus...."

Writes Dan Mitchell at Columbia Journalism Review.

"Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to access the personal data of users during the 2012 campaign because they supported the Democratic candidate..."

"... according to a high ranking staffer. Carol Davidsen, who worked as the media director at Obama for America and has spoken about this in the past, explained on Twitter that she and her team were able to ingest massive amounts of information from the social network after getting permission from Facebook users to access their list of friends. 'Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn't stop us once they realized that was what we were doing,' wrote Davidsen. Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to access the personal data of users during the 2012 campaign because they supported the Democratic candidate.... Davidsen posted this in the wake of the uproar over Cambridge Analytica, and their mining of information for the Trump campaign."

From "'They were on our side': Obama campaign director reveals Facebook ALLOWED them to mine American users' profiles in 2012 because they were supportive of the Democrats" (Daily Mail).

It's not the approach I would choose, fighting creepy with creepy.

(Language warning.)

March 19, 2018

"Reactionary white men will surely be thrilled by [Jordan] Peterson’s loathing for 'social justice warriors' and his claim that divorce laws should not have been liberalized in the 1960s."

"Those embattled against political correctness on university campuses will heartily endorse Peterson’s claim that 'there are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men.' Islamophobes will take heart from his speculation that 'feminists avoid criticizing Islam because they unconsciously long for masculine dominance.' Libertarians will cheer Peterson’s glorification of the individual striver, and his stern message to the left-behinds ('Maybe it’s not the world that’s at fault. Maybe it’s you. You’ve failed to make the mark.'). The demagogues of our age don’t read much; but, as they ruthlessly crack down on refugees and immigrants, they can derive much philosophical backup from Peterson’s sub-chapter headings: 'Compassion as a vice' and 'Toughen up, you weasel.'... [Peterson] seems unbothered by the fact that thinking of human relations in such terms as dominance and hierarchy connects too easily with such nascent viciousness such as misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. He might argue that his maps of meaning aim at helping lost individuals rather than racists, ultra-nationalists, or imperialists. But he can’t plausibly claim, given his oft-expressed hostility to the 'murderous equity doctrine' of feminists, and other progressive ideas, that he is above the fray of our ideological and culture wars."

From "Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism" by Pankaj Mishra (NYRB).

"Nancy doesn’t tell us much about what it’s like to be a kid. What Nancy tells us is what it’s like to be a comic strip."

Wrote Bill "Zippy the Pinhead" Griffith, quoted in "Grown Men Reading 'Nancy'" by Dash Shaw in the New York Review of Books. I followed the "Nancy" craze at the time, so it's fun for me to stumble into reading about it today:
Nancy became a touchstone for artists to appropriate, distort, and transform. In Raw, Mark Newgarden’s 1986 comic Love’s Savage Fury depicted a Nancy whose minimal facial features rearrange while Bazooka Joe, a Topps bubblegum package mascot, eyes her across a NYC subway. Newgarden (who worked at Topps and co-created The Garbage Pail Kids) and Paul Karasik (a Raw associate editor and cartoonist who would go on to co-write the graphic-novel adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass) then collaborated on a 1988 essay titled “How to Read Nancy” that deconstructed the elements of a single 1959 Nancy gag in nine ways across eight pages. By isolating elements of the comic, they explored how each piece supported the entire gag—for example, solely the dialogue of the strip; then solely the spotted blacks; then the arc of the horizon line, etc....

Three decades later, in an epic feat of comics fandom, research, and obsession, Newgarden and Karasik have expanded that essay into a 274-page book examining over forty elements of the same 1959 gag.
Whoa! Must buy.
This gag comic strip now joins the ranks of works of art that have entire books dedicated to them. What Newgarden and Karasik have done here is clearly, methodically, often hilariously explained the unique beauty and craft of comics..... [O]ne chapter of How to Read Nancy, titled “The Leaky Spigot,” focuses on the number of droplets placed around the spigot at the center of the strip. Four droplets communicate that there is a great deal of pressure pulsing through the hose. The greater the pressure, the more rewarding Nancy’s vengeance will be. Two or three droplets would not imply this strength of pressure. Five might suggest a malfunction, and would break the graphic symmetry of the design. Karasik and Newgarden also note that the droplets to the right are slightly smaller and therefore in spatial perspective. Every element of the strip is analyzed to this degree of fascinating and humorous detail.
It must have been hard for Dash Shaw to resist quoting the most famous thing anyone ever said about "Nancy": "It's harder to not read Nancy than to read it." I'm saying it because it's harder not to say it than to say it.

Blac Rabbit — Beatles busking in the NYC subway.

It's uncanny. I would be suspicious that they were somehow lip-synching to something recorded if there weren't this whole NYT article about them — "Live in the Subway: Maybe the Best Beatles Cover Band Ever." I'm sure the NYT checked out the authenticity of the effect that seems too good to be true:

"Amiri and Rahiem, who grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, are identical twins... They were raised around music. Their grandfather was a jazz musician. Their grandmother played Beatles records. When they were in high school, she bought them the Beatles version of the video game Rock Band, where they would play along with a controller modeled after a guitar.... The brothers, who live together in Far Rockaway, Queens... lug their guitars and an amp onto the subways once or twice a week. They may play their own music, which they describe as psychedelic rock, in other venues, but on this stage, they stick almost solely to the Beatles. 'Their music is so universal,' Rahiem said. '“I know goth kids who love the Beatles. I know hip-hop kids who love the Beatles.'"

Watch nobody stop:

Here's a little documentary about them.

Cynthia Nixon is running for Governor of New York: "This is a time to stick our necks out!"

She has experience... just not in government.

It worked for Trump.

Drain the swamp! Right??

The day the rise of the robots ended?

1. "A woman in Tempe, Ariz., has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber.... The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk.... Uber said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto" (NYT).

2. "Facebook FB shares were suffering their worst day in more than five years as the social network came under fire for improperly managing user information when it revealed that a company with ties to the 2016 Trump campaign improperly kept data on an estimated 51.3 million Facebook users for years when it had been required to destroy the data. Facebook claims to have more than 2 billion active users" (MarketWatch).

3. ???

15 years ago today I started a notebook...

The first page, breakfast at a café, knowing this is the day, March 19th, seems like a normal day, but do you remember knowing, this is it, this is the day....


The second page, while eating, lunch at Chin's, which had TVs on the news, and the fortune cookie said, "Those who laugh loud also cry hard":


The third page, I'm home, watching the television as the President informs us of what millions of Americans are doing, quietly, inside our head:


The fourth page, I'm still watching TV, and the President inspires readiness....


"This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked. Monstrous!"

Via AP ("Jim Carrey is being criticized on social media for a portrait he painted that is believed to be White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders").

"[Kamala] Harris was born to two Berkeley graduate students in the fall of 1964."

"Both were immigrants—her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a nutrition and endocrinology student from southern India, and her father, Donald Harris, an economics scholar from Jamaica—and they met 'in the movement,' says Harris; they often took Kamala and her younger sister, Maya, to civil rights marches. They divorced when Kamala was seven, and though the sisters made regular visits to Palo Alto, where Donald lived as a Stanford professor, it was Shyamala who became the guiding force in Harris’s life. Shyamala set 'incredibly high expectations,' Maya says. The Harris girls sang in an Oakland church choir, mastered Indian cooking, and cleaned test tubes in their mother’s lab. They were allowed to watch cartoons only if they simultaneously did something productive, like needlepoint or knitting. 'I have no idea how many blankets Kamala must have crocheted,' Maya tells me. 'She was the mad crocheter.' Harris describes her mother, who died in 2009, as 'a force of nature—all five feet of her,' she says. 'She had a code.' I glimpse some of the same intensity in Harris when I ask if her urge to protect the vulnerable comes from being raised by a single mom. 'I don’t play a violin about my childhood,' she says firmly. The sisters traveled regularly to Jamaica and India, and Harris can recall sitting on the porch of her grandmother’s house in Jamaica for hours, chewing on sugarcane and listening to her father and uncles talk politics. In India, the girls stayed in Chennai with their grandfather, a government diplomat, and their grandmother, who in the 1940s was known for driving through small Indian villages in a Volkswagen Bug, brandishing a bullhorn, and informing women about how to get birth control. 'She was the purest form of the Harris women,' Harris says. 'We’re all diluted versions of my grandmother.'..."

From "Kamala Harris Is Dreaming Big" (Vogue).

Is this at all Trump-related? Bloomberg won't tell.

"Apple Inc. is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, using a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters to make small numbers of the screens for testing purposes, according to people familiar with the situation....
The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays.... The ambitious undertaking is the latest example of Apple bringing the design of key components in-house. The company has designed chips powering its mobile devices for several years....
So for several years, years they've been doing more in-house design. But the news is about manufacturing. How long has that been happening in-house?
The 62,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, the first of its kind for Apple, is located on an otherwise unremarkable street in Santa Clara, California... The facility also has a special area for the intricate process of producing LEDs. Another facility nearby houses technology that handles so-called LED transfers: the process of placing individual pixels into a MicroLED screen....

The complexity of building a screen manufacturing facility meant it took Apple several months to get the California plant operational. Only in recent months have Apple engineers grown confident in their ability to eventually replace screens from Samsung and other suppliers.
A year ago, Forbes ran a piece titled: "Are Donald Trump's Calls To Bring Manufacturing Back To The US Out Of Touch?"
I don’t know if it’s right to call that “out of touch.” It might simply be that Trump doesn’t really understand why manufacturing jobs have declined. It may be that he understands just fine but he’s just saying what his audience wants to hear. Either way, he is either ignoring or denying the reality of rising U.S. manufacturing output. He’s focusing on raw numbers of jobs, and seems to be assuming that trade deals are the reason those jobs have declined, and seems also to be assuming that better deals or different deals or no deals at all would bring jobs back, and not just bring them back, but bring them back to the exact same places where they were lost over the past several decades.

"The Monmouth University Poll... finds a large bipartisan majority who feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a 'Deep State' of unelected government officials."

"Just over half of the public is either very worried (23%) or somewhat worried (30%) about the U.S. government monitoring their activities and invading their privacy."
There are no significant partisan differences – 57% of independents, 51% of Republicans, and 50% of Democrats are at least somewhat worried the federal government is monitoring their activities...

... 6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government.

“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge. But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘Deep State’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power,” [said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute].

Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term “Deep State;” another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington....

Americans of black, Latino and Asian backgrounds (35%) are more likely than non-Hispanic whites (23%) to say that the Deep State definitely exists. Non-whites (60%) are also somewhat more likely than whites (50%) to worry about the government monitoring them and similarly more likely to believe there is already widespread government monitoring of U.S. citizens (60% and 49%, respectively). More non-whites (35%) than whites (23%) say that such monitoring is rarely or never justified....
Seems like a great issue for Republicans, no? Potential to drive a wedge into Democratic Party constituencies.

"It’s hard to talk about guns, as well as about hunting and farming, at school because no one there knows much about those three topics."

"They’ve been told not to touch or talk about guns, and some of the kids think it is just absolutely wrong for people to own them. That is their opinion, and I respect it and am open to talking about it. But even if people try to be nice, they don’t really want to debate it. At the school I used to go to, a few miles away across the border in Vermont, it was a totally different culture. There were a lot of parents and kids who owned and used guns, and pretty much everyone hunted. And it was a small town where everyone knew who you were.... I think the people who are afraid of guns should talk to the people who are familiar with them, and both should keep an open mind. Even if people on the other side don’t agree, they need to be respectful, listen, be honest and not get upset with the other person."

Writes Dakota Hanchett, a junior at Hanover High School (in New Hampshire), in "Why I Didn’t Join My School’s Walkout" (NYT).

At first, I was thinking, is that the New Hampshire/Vermont distinction? But then I saw "Hanover." As one commenter there says:
Dakota doesn't frame it this way, but Hanover HS is an unusual mix of students whose parents are Dartmouth faculty or Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center staff and students who come from multi-generation farm or working class families in VT and NH. My son graduated Hanover HS and had friends on both sides of this sometimes awkward divide. 
By the way, that commenter goes on to criticize the arguments Dakota Hanchett makes, and in doing so, uses the pronoun "he." Why would you assume someone named "Dakota" is male? I don't think the writer ever says. A reader might easily assume the photograph at the top of the column shows the author. I know I did until I noticed the caption. It's a stock photo of a homely white teenager aiming a rifle. The tip of the barrel is in sharp focus, and the person is way out of focus — symbolically making the argument that it is the gun, not the person, that kills (the opposite of what the Dakota Hanchett argues). I'm not positive that the person in the stock photo is male, but when thought that was a photo of Hanchett, I assumed I was looking at a male.

Other things might make you think you were reading an essay by a male. First, guns, target-shooting, hunting, and butchering seem like masculine interests, though plenty of females are into them too. Hanchett says, "Sometimes I get the feeling these kids are afraid of me because I own firearms." I think (but don't know) that a girl is much less likely than a boy to imagine that other people are afraid of her. Third, if the writer really were a girl, a girl challenging Times' readers' stereotypes, I think the NYT would call attention to that, but then again, maybe they wouldn't in cases, like this, where the girl isn't expressing the viewpoint about guns the newspaper is pushing.

But I think it's interesting that NYT readers assume Dakota Hanchett is a boy. And now I've Googled enough to know the answer. Dakota Hanchett is a boy. Is Dakota more common as a boy or girl's name? I'm influenced by the actresses Dakota Fanning and Dakota Johnson.
Dakota is...the 203rd-most popular name for American boys in 2007, having ranked in the top 100 most popular names from 1995 to 2000.... 1985. It was the 239th-most popular name for American girls in 2007. It has ranked among the top 400 names for American girls since 1991....
That doesn't mean there are more American boys named Dakota than American girls. I think there are fewer boys' names in common use because parents naming girls go in for more creativity and fanciness.

"Here’s a working scientist, contributing alongside her colleagues, and she’s not even given the professional courtesy of having her name recorded at a scientific conference."

"The photo, with her brown face half obscured by the people around her, is a perfect metaphor for the larger issue of history’s failure to record the work of women scientists, particularly women scientists of color."

From "She Was the Only Woman in a Photo of 38 Scientists, and Now She’s Been Identified" (NYT), about what happened after this tweet went up:

(It's strangely hard to fit my usual tags onto this story.)

ADDED: This story brings up a painful memory. Years ago, I gave a talk at a law school (which I won't name). I was the only speaker, and afterwards, they brought in a photographer to memorialize the event, and I was standing with a group of law professors who'd come up to chat and to thank me. I happened to be standing at one end of a group of perhaps 5 persons, and I could tell that the photographer was framing the shot to exclude me.